Sea-foam Dreams

I traveled with my family to the beach recently and had a single type of image in mind to try: long-exposure scenes of the surf at the shoreline.

It is amazingly difficult to do this sort of shot! I wanted to capture as much of the breaking surf as possible, to create highlight areas from the white sea-foam, so I was backed up a bit from where the waves would reach. This allowed folks strolling along the beach room in which to walk in front of my camera during an exposure. Now, with an exposure measured in minutes, someone walking through the scene isn’t going to make much of an impact, but when they are wearing white shirts and stop to look and see if they can tell what I’m taking a picture of, they do tend to show up in the image as ghosts! 😉

And darn those Pelicans! Flying through the scene is fine. Diving for a fish is fine. Stopping to enjoy the satisfactory glow after swallowing your fish and staying in one place for the duration of my exposure is not! I’m going for minimalism here – your blurred profile bobbing up and down on the surf doesn’t fit with the minimalist goal!

Still, it was fun to try and I like what I got.

This first image was shot in pre-dawn light with thick clouds on the horizon. It’s a 1-minute exposure:

Sea-foam Dream I

Sea-foam Dream I. A one-minute exposure in light surf in pre-dawn light.

This next image was taken in twilight after sunset. There were thin clouds on the horizon. This is a 2-minute exposure in light surf:

Sea-foam Dream II

Sea-foam Dream II. A two-minute exposure in light surf in post-sunset twilight.

Both images were shot with a Nikon D800 using a Nikkor 24-80mm lens. Approximately 7-stops of neutral density filtration was used on both images to allow for the long exposure duration.

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